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Spriggs a head above the rest

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
XG Spriggs Feature PU 1-26-07
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ASPEN Its hard to miss John Spriggs. At 6-foot-5, and with long, curly hair, the Vail skier is a presence even without his boots. But then he puts on the boots, and hes even harder to miss.Spriggs, 18, has been turning heads at slopestyle events with his acrobatic spins and smooth rail slides. And hes not that bad in the halfpipe, either.Coming off a torn ACL last year, Spriggs is back in form this season not that the tear did much to his style anyway.I tore (my knee) and I knew around the U.S. Freeskiing Open I did something wrong, Spriggs said. After that, I got an MRI and they told me I tore my ACL, which bummed me out because I had X Games. An injury that would sideline most immediately didnt stop Spriggs from taking sixth at the X Games slopestyle in 2006.It didnt feel torn to me, so I just waited, skied a bit, did some filming to get in as much as I could, Spriggs said. It would hurt if I took a jump too deep or if landed forward or in the backseat it would hurt badly. Other than that, I just had a brace and skied through it.

Long summerFinally, when the snow began to melt last year, Spriggs hung up his skis and began the long road to recovery. By the time the snow began to fall this season, Spriggs was ready to roll.In a way it was good because it gave me some more fuel to work with, because Id skied all year the year before, and the summer before, so that was two years straight of skiing, Spriggs said. But it sucked. I never want to get injured again. In early November, Spriggs competed in the Icer Air Festival in San Francisco and took sixth.It was fun because you are on top of the starting ramp, and (AT&T Park) is there, and you look over and see the ocean, and you are like, What, Im skiing? Spriggs said. Before skiing consumed his life year round, Spriggs spent time windsurfing and hopes to get back into it this summer. For now, Spriggs in concentrating on perfecting his skiing by splitting time between competing and filming. I like to keep it even because I think to be an all-around skier, you have to have everything, Spriggs said. By just being a competition skier, its not skiing.Last year, Spriggs spent a lot time filming in Oregons backcountry, as well as on Vail Pass. I just bought a sled, so Im trying to do as much backcountry this year, Spriggs said.Along with jumps in feet of powder, Spriggs enjoys hitting urban rails.Everything weve done has been pretty original, Spriggs said. We did one that was a double Z, 90-degree rails, multi-kink rails and a bunch of other stuff.

Easy riderFor this years X Games, Spriggs may go back to what earned him sixth last year.The cab 1080 worked, and Ill probably end up pulling it this year, Spriggs said. I have other tricks, but the jumps arent built that well for them. At this point in his career, Spriggs is happy to have become a regular name at all the big events, but isnt totally satisfied.I always dreamed of it, but it took a lot of hard work, and Im still not at the point where I want to be in my skiing. I have a lot more. Spriggs may end up competing a bit more in the halfpipe, although he prefers to challenge his skiing.Slopestyle has more variables to it jumps, rails and everything and the pipe is two walls and isnt variable speed wise, Spriggs said. By the time the snow melts this season, Spriggs hopes to have two things under his belt.For filming I want to continue with Poor Boyz (Productions) and get in a full segment. Competition wise, Id like to put it all together in one competition, but you never know when its going to happen, so you dont rush it. It could happen at the (World Skiing Invitational) or could happen Sunday. Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at icropp@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2935.


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